Donald Trump’s presidential campaign helped Breitbart News go from a niche right-wing news source to household name, especially after Breitbart co-founder Steve Bannon was invited to join the Trump administration. Despite that ascent in name recognition, however, Breitbart is hemorrhaging advertisers and readers.
The Washington Post reports that between March and May of this year, Breitbart lost 90% of its advertisers, with the number plummeting from 242 to 26. Readers aren’t showing up either, with unique visitors dropping 53% since the election. Some of the only remaining advertisers are a strip club, a golf resort, a background-check service, and a smattering of conservative foundations and publications.
The plummet in numbers has been going on for over six months. It really kicked off when Kellogg’s pulled its ads in December of 2016, which prompted Breitbart to blast the breakfast food giant for being leftist and “un-American.” A spokesperson from Breitbart stated, “Kellogg’s decision to blacklist one of the largest conservative media outlets in America is economic censorship of mainstream conservative political discourse.”
The steep drop between March and May might have something to do with an FBI investigation into whether Russian spambots successfully infiltrated Breitbart and used its social media sites to link to Russian propaganda sites RT News and Sputnik News. If they did, that means Breitbart’s advertising numbers were corrupted. It also doesn’t help that Breitbart is so thoroughly tied to Donald Trump, a president who’s obsessed with ratings and whose approval polls currently sit at just 34%.
Breitbart president Tom Fitton has tried to spin the advertising hemorrhage as an attack by the left and point of pride. “Liberal activists want to destroy Breitbart, but we won’t be cowed,” he told the Post. They might not be cowed, but they aren’t exactly thriving, either. Other recent woes to plague the site are harder to blame on the opposition.
Twice now, Breitbart has been denied Capitol Hill press credentials, in no small part due to Breitbart alumni Steve Bannon’s position in the White House. In February, the publication’s resident celebrity troll, Milo Yiannopoulos, made comments about pedophilia that lost him a book deal and led to his resignation. Breitbart also just fired reporter Katie McHugh for a tweet in which she correlated the presence of Muslims in the U.K. with the recent London Bridge terrorist attack.
It will be a long while though before Breitbart runs out of relevance or totally succumbs to its losses. Between the publication’s friends in the highest office of land and the deep pockets of its allies, the site still has plenty of ink to spill on the white supremacy and sexism that have been its bread and butter for the past decade.
(Via Washington Post)